Although many states are working on the expansion of reimbursement for telehealth, others are still set on containing and limiting the delivery of telehealth services. While each state has its own unique laws, rules and Medicaid program policies, there are certain similar trends which come to light if several policies are scrutinized. For instance, Medicaid reimbursement for live video is more frequent than reimbursement for remote monitoring of patients and store-and-forward.
The time period between 2013 to 2015 saw steady growth and upward trends in reimbursement for store-and-forward and remote monitoring of patients; however, this growing number has currently reached a sudden halt, and remains the same as it was at the time our last report was published, in July 2015. However, there are some promising signs – although some states are not moving forward on telehealth, others are progressing in this regard.
In Washington, for example, the Medicaid program now provides some reimbursement for services delivered via store-and-forward. On the other hand, the Medicaid program in Oklahoma has stopped reimbursement for store-and-forward. These differing policies point at a wider issue regarding the unpredictable nature of policies throughout the country.
Some key findings are as follows:
• As it was the previous year, 47 states and Washington DC offer reimbursement for certain types of live video through Medicaid fee-for-service. Iowa’s Medicaid program established that they do offer reimbursement for live video; however, the telemedicine policy for Utah is not available, which means Utah cannot be included in the list of states that provide reimbursement for live video. Owing to this, the number of states that offer reimbursement for telemedicine services remains the same as last year.
• As mentioned previously, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program does not provide reimbursement for store-and-forward anymore, while Washington’s Medicaid program now does so. So, the number of states that reimburse for store-and-forward continues to be a total of nine. This number does not include states that provide reimbursement only for teleradiology.
• Since July 2015, no changes have been observed in state Medicaid programs’ provision of reimbursement for remote patient monitoring; it continues to be in effect in 16 states.
• Five Medicaid programs, for the states of Washington, Minnesota, Alaska, Mississippi and Illinois, provide reimbursement for all three, although this is subject to certain restrictions. This has increased by one since July 2015.